Understanding Insurance in Car Accident Cases

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, your first priority is your health. Before anything else, you need to get examined by a doctor and seek the necessary treatment. Unfortunately, everything that comes after that – namely, paying your medical bills – can get fairly complicated. In this post, we hope to shed some light on how insurance plays a role in compensating you for your injuries.

For purposes of this post, we’ll assume that your injuries are serious and will require long-term treatment, loss of income, and a significant amount of pain and suffering. Let’s also assume that you wind up having to pursue legal action in order to get fair compensation for your injuries.     

Health Insurance

As a preliminary matter, you need to understand that you are ultimately responsible for paying your medical bills. If you don’t have health insurance, this means that you will have to pay for your injuries out of pocket. If you do have health insurance, your health insurance will probably cover all the medical expenses you incur, less your deductible (if you have one).  

You don’t want to be worrying about bills during your recovery, so health insurance provides some peace of mind. On the other hand, it can complicate things when you later settle the claim.  When you are able to eventually settle the case or win at trial, the settlement amount should include the amount you spent on medical bills. However, you will have to reimburse your health insurance carrier for any amounts they covered.  

The general principle at work is that you can’t recover twice for the same accident. In other words, you can’t be paid for expenses that you didn’t actually incur. However, the health insurance carrier’s claim may be reduced by as much as one-third, on the theory that they would not have gotten any compensation, had you not hired a lawyer and pursued legal action.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your health insurance will only pay medical bills – it obviously won’t pay for the loss of income, pain and suffering, or damage to your vehicle.  

Auto Insurance

As in every other state, drivers in Georgia are required to carry insurance. Georgia law mandates the following policy minimums:

  • Bodily injury coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence
  • Property damage coverage of $50,000 per occurrence

In the event that you are injured in an accident through another driver’s fault, you would be entitled to coverage from their insurance of at least $25,000. Damage to your vehicle would be paid up to $50,000.   

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection is a component of auto insurance policies that covers medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. It is mandatory in some states, but it is optional in the state of Georgia. It can help get medical bills covered quickly, especially if you don’t have health insurance. It can also provide some additional coverage in the event that your medical expenses exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits.  

Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney

This is just a basic overview of the roles that various types of insurance play when you’re injured in a car accident. And while you may think you’re covered, the unfortunate reality is that most insurance companies are reluctant to pay personal injury claims. The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd know how to navigate the insurance maze and help to get you the compensation you deserve. If you need someone on your side, contact us today for a free consultation –  call us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email.  

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